The '''Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University
''', formerly the '''Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia''', is the oldest natural science
research institution and museum
in the New World
. It was founded in 1812, by many of the leading naturalist
s of the young American republic with an expressed mission of "the encouragement and cultivation of the sciences". For over two centuries of continuous operations, the Academy has sponsored expeditions, conducted original environmental and systematics
research, and amassed natural history
collections containing more than 17 million specimens. The Academy also has a long tradition of public exhibits and educational programs for both schools and the general public.